Mexican Aztecas

historic gold coin icon Mexico flag icon Mexican Gold Aztecas - one of the all-time most beautiful gold coins

Many investors and collectors consider the intricately designed 20 Peso Mexican Gold Aztecas to be one of the most beautiful gold coins of all time. The Mexican Mint produced these 20 Peso gold coins between 1917 and 1921 and in 1959. The Mexican Azteca gold coins were never intended to be used as currency. The coins are considerably smaller than the 50 Peso Centenario gold coins but they are also made out of 90% gold and 10% copper. The addition of copper makes the coins more durable and wear-resistant. The Aztecas are a popular choice with investors/collectors since they can usually be bought for a mere 3% to 4% premium over their gold value.

The obverse side of the Mexican Aztecas shows the Aztec Calendar Stone that is also known as the Sun Stone. Mexico's official coat of arms can be seen on the reverse. It shows an eagle perched on top of a cactus holding a snake. This image appears on other Mexican gold coins as well. However, whereas the eagle faces forward on the Centenario gold coins, it faces sideways on the Gold Azteca coins.

obverse side of the 1918 20 Peso Mexican Gold Azteca coin
reverse side of the 1918 20 Peso Mexican Gold Azteca coin

Coin Fact Sheet

Weight Face Value Purity Diameter
0.4823 oz 20 Peso 90% 27.5 x 2.03 mm

Total Mintage: 6,174,000

Design

The obverse side of the Mexican 20 Gold Peso Azteca coin depicts the Aztec Calendar Stone. Also known as the Sun Stone, it is believed to have been carved during the reign of the 6th Aztec monarch in 1479. Dedicated to the sun as the principal Aztec deity, it is a large ceremonial object that served as an astronomical/astrological guide. The coin's denomination (Vente Pesos = 20 Pesos) and gold weight (15 grams) are inscribed underneath the stone.

The official Mexican Coat of Arms is depicted on the reverse side of the coin. It shows an eagle perched upon a cactus holding a serpent in its powerful beak and talons. The eagle faces sideways, distinguishing the image from the 50 Peso Centenario Gold coin where it faces forward. The year of mintage appears to the lower right of the eagle and “Estados Unidos Mexicanos” is engraved on top. The Mexican Gold Azteca is the only Mexican gold coin that shows the official version of the country's coat of arms on its reverse side. Mexican coins first used the image of an eagle in 1825.

History

Mexico carried out a monetary reform in 1905 that resulted in the introduction of many new coins in the years that followed. The Mexican Mint issued the 20 Peso Azteca gold coins without interruption between 1917 and 1921. In 1959, Mexican Gold Aztecas were briefly produced again (13.000 coins) but all coins produced thereafter are restrikes. Since the restrikes are dated 1959 as well, they are virtually indistinguishable from the official 1959 strikes.

The Aztec Calendar that is featured on the coin's obverse side is closely connected to Mexico's history. When the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés conquered Mexico in the year 1521, he is believed to have found the Aztec Calendar at Tenochtitlan's Templo Mayor. The Aztec capital Tenochtitlan was located in the area that is now Mexico City. The Templo Mayor (English: Great Temple) was dedicated to the god of war Huitzilopochtli and the god of rain and agriculture Tlaloc. The Spanish invaders had most of the temple destroyed when they conquered the Aztec capital. The Calendar Stone was buried in the main square of Mexico City and only rediscovered by chance in 1790. It can now be seen in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City.

Restrikes of the Azteca coin

Modern restrikes numbering 1.158.414 pieces of the 20 Gold Peso Azteca were made between 1960 and 1971 (dated 1959). In addition, 78.000 matte restrikes were produced in 1996 (also dated 1959).

Mintages

Annual mintage of the 20 Peso Mexican Gold Azteca coins varied between 13,000 and 2,831,000 coins. The total mintage amounts to about 6.1 million coins.

obverse side of the 2009 issue of the brilliant uncirculated 1 oz Mexican Gold Libertad coin
reverse side of the 2009 issue of the brilliant uncirculated 1 oz Mexican Gold Libertad coin

Mexican Gold Libertads

The Mexican Gold Libertad coins are struck out of 99.9% pure gold since 1981. Their design that depicts the Angel of Independence is inspired by the historic 50 Peso Gold Centenario coins. The Mexican Gold Libertads are minted by the Casa de Moneda de México, the oldest mint in North America, in the denominations of 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz and 1/20 oz. Both brilliant uncirculated and proof coins are available. The coins don't have an official face value and their annual mintage numbers are much lower than those of other gold bullion coins. Despite that, the coins have legal tender status in Mexico.

The Mexican Gold Libertad page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.